The hallway huddle has been a part of successful practices over the years. So what’s the formula for a hallway huddle?
Who? Include the entire staff in a small group or key staff in a larger group. Be sure to include the clinicians and office staff. Leadership participation is also essential for the huddles to succeed. And this is a standing meeting – meaning, everyone stands throughout the meeting. Have a respected team member be the facilitator.
What? Have a brief set agenda. Keep the huddle focused. Establish a time limit for the huddle – the limit is usually 5 minutes or less. Make sure everyone has a chance to be heard – during the course of several meetings. (Note: In the practice where I was prior to Practice Advantage, we incorporated a 30-60 second celebration of something that went well between the last huddle and the current one. We made sure the “who” for the success stories was rotated and included front office, back office and clinical staff.)
Where? Hold the meetings in a convenient, centrally located place within the clinic – a hallway.
When? Decide to hold hallway huddles daily, weekly or monthly. Hold them mid-morning, midday or mid-afternoon. [Try not to have a huddle at the start or end of the day – mid-flow helps make sure people are engaged in their workday.] Be consistent with start and end times. Keep the huddles focused. Staff appreciates being able to participate and then promptly getting back to work – seeing patients, getting prior authorizations or scheduling patients.
Why? Medical practices typically use a huddle to find efficiencies, identify concerns, celebrate successes and promote teamwork. Also, the huddle can be a great way to reinforce goals and objectives for the clinic.